Olympics spotlight: Is America catching up to Adam Rippon?
By Scott Reid
GANGNEUNG, South Korea—On the way to the Olympic medal plaza Monday night to pick up their team competition bronze medals, Adam Rippon couldn’t help reminding Mirai Nagasu where they had been four years earlier.
“We were eating In-N-Out on the roof of her house and crying that we weren’t at the Olympics and now we’re sharing an Olympic podium together,” Rippon said. “If you’re ever depressed, go to In-N-Out and four years later you can be at the Olympics.
Rippon and Nagasu haven’t let their moment in the Olympic spotlight go to waste, both delivering the skates of their lifetimes in the clutch on the final day of the team competition.
“To finally step on Olympic ice felt absolutely incredible,” said Rippon, who once again takes center ice at the Gangneung Ice Arena with Friday’s men’s short program.
“Definitely worth the 28-year wait,” Rippon continued. “I felt like I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to skate well, only for myself , but a medal was on the line for my teammates. To go out there, deliver and put out an Olympic freeskate, it felt amazing.”
Both Rippon and Nagasu’s performances resonated with the American public in large part because of their backstories.
“How Adam Rippon Became the Star of the 2018 Winter Olympics” blared the headline of the lead story on Vanity Fair’s website the day after the team competition.
Nagasu was left off the 2014 Olympic team in a still controversial decision despite finishing third at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Rippon, as the first openly gay U.S. Winter Olympian, knew all too well he is skating for than just himself and his teammates in South Korea.